1 Probationary Policy and Procedure for Police Staff All new appointments to the Wiltshire Police Authority will be subject to a probationary period which usually lasts for a duration of 26 weeks. Probationary periods are designed to enable both Wiltshire Police and the probationer to establish both the suitability of the role and the capability of the post holder. The probationary period not only measures the performance of the probationer but also examines their conduct and behaviour. As highlighted in the Code of Conduct, Wiltshire Police expects high standards from individuals in terms of their behaviour and conduct both in the workplace and when they are off duty. The probationary period enables police staff to become familiar with the Code of Conduct and the Police Service values of integrity, respect for diversity, compassion for others and commitment to public service. Any behaviour which falls below the standards required is unacceptable and will be addressed in the probationary period. 1. Scope of the Policy 1.1 The following procedures apply to all newly appointed permanent police staff and to temporary staff initially appointed on a fixed term contract for six months or more. Regardless of the length of the contract, the line manager should undertake periodic assessments of the work being undertaken to ensure that standards are being maintained. 1.2 The procedures will also apply to all internal appointments or transfers within the Wiltshire Constabulary. Probationary transferees will be confirmed in post subject to the satisfactory completion of a probationary period within their new role. The duration of the probationary period will be in accordance with that set for new police staff. 1.3 Our Disciplinary Procedures will not apply during the probation period. 2. The Probationary Period 2.1 The length of the probationary period for both new police staff and probationary transferees will be 6 months. The normal probationary period may be extended prior to recruitment for identified posts (normally those requiring an extensive training period). The length of probationary period will also be specified in the contract of employment. 3. Purpose of Probation 3.1 The purpose of the probationary period is twofold: 3.11 To ensure that new staff members have the opportunity to become familiar with the practices and procedures of the Wiltshire Constabulary To allow staff members to demonstrate their ability to effectively and efficiently perform their duties. 3.2 During the probationary period the line manager has the responsibility to set the required performance standards and follow up any development needs that have been identified, either during the selection process or subsequently. Managers must ensure that staff members understand what is expected from them during their employment.
2 4. Principles of Probation 4.1 The probationary period is used to assess the suitability of a probationer for the post. The line manager will assess the performance and competence to ensure that the probationer is meeting the required standards. 4.2 The newly appointed staff will be given suitable guidance and support during their probationary period and will be provided with appropriate development and training opportunities. 4.3 Performance will be assessed at the 4 th, 12 th and 20 th week of the probationary period and where areas for development are highlighted, every reasonable opportunity will be provided to assist in the improvement of performance. The line manager will make clear how and when these standards will be monitored. 4.4 Line managers should seek advice from the Human Resources Department should a probationer s performance or conduct give cause for concern as early as possible. It is important not to wait until the end of the probationary period to raise any concerns. 4.5 Management may extend the probationary period, in consultation with the Human Resources Department. This may be for reasons such as absence due to ill health or where a further period of training and/ or experience may establish the staff member s capability to perform the requirements of the role. This extension will normally be for a maximum period of three months or in cases of ill health, by the length of time lost to sickness absence. 4.6 Employees going through their probationary period may be dismissed following adverse probationary reports on disciplinary, capability or other grounds (e.g. loss of trust and confidence, giving a false statement to gain employment) without being subject to further procedures. 5. Responsibilities 5.1 Probationer The newly appointed member of staff is responsible for demonstrating their suitability for the post and is responsible for highlighting to their line manager any training needs they may have. It is also the responsibility of the new member of staff to attend any induction or other appropriate training events that are held in order to assist with their development. 5.2 Line Manager It is the responsibility of the line manager to clearly define the set of performance standards and the required procedures to ensure the newly appointed member of staff understands what is required from him or her. The line manager is also responsible for providing guidance and support and ensuring the newly appointed member of staff receives an effective induction It is also the responsibility of the line manager to ensure that all probationary review reports are completed and returned to the Human Resources Department in a timely manner.
3 6. Probationary Procedure 6.1 For the standard six month probationary period, formal Initial Performance and Development Reviews are required after 4, 12 and 20 weeks service in the post. Where other than the standard length of probation is being undertaken, the frequency of reports will be established at the commencement period in consultation with the Human Resources Department. 6.2 The review forms are located within the HR Services intranet page on First Point. All sections of each review are to be completed fully by the line manager. 6.3 The reports must be signed and comments endorsed by the first line manager and forwarded to the post holder for signature and comments. The second line manager must then comment and sign the appropriate and forward to the Divisional/ Department Head for signature. On full completion of the report, the document should be forwarded to the Human Resource Department. Line managers must ensure that a copy of the review is kept for their records. 6.4 Line managers are expected to complete the reports in a timely manner and be returned to the HR Helpdesk. 7. Satisfactory Performance 7.1 Following successful completion of the probationary period, line managers may recommend that the post holder be confirmed in the role. 7.2 Both line managers should document this recommendation at the final stage of the review process, if appropriate. 7.3 The review should be sent to the Human Resources Department who will then send a letter to the staff member confirming that their probationary period has been satisfactorily completed and that they are therefore confirmed in post. 8. Early Confirmation 8.1 If a new member of staff is able to demonstrate their ability to function effectively at an early stage and the line manager decides that early confirmation of appointment may be appropriate, this decision may be indicated following the 12 week review. 8.2 If the first and second line managers are entirely satisfied that the member is working at full capacity, then a report must be submitted to the Human Resources Department for consideration, requesting an early confirmation of appointment. 8.3 A letter of confirmation of appointment will be forwarded from the Human Resources Department. 9. Unsatisfactory Performance 9.1 If progress is unsatisfactory, the line manager should discuss with the member of staff the areas of performance that are causing concern and should clarify objectives and timescales within which improvements will need to be made as well as identifying methods of achieving such improvements. Any additional training, re-training or support should be
4 mutually agreed by both parties and appropriate action taken. This should be put in writing to the probationer in the form of an Action Plan. The probationer should also be advised in writing that if the specified improvements are not met by 20th week review then a recommendation to the Head of Human Resources for dismissal may be made. 9.2 Details of the problems with supporting evidence, efforts made to resolve them and Action Plans must be placed with the appropriate review and forwarded to the Human Resources Department. 9.3 At the final stage of the reporting process a decision will be made by the line manager and the Human Resources Department as to the most appropriate course of action/ This may include extension of the probationary period which is dependent on certain circumstances, termination of employment or the staff member deciding to resign. 9.4 In circumstances where a probationary transferee fails to satisfactorily complete their probationary period, management will take all reasonable steps to re-deploy the individual. If an employee is re-deployed in these circumstances, the terms of appointment will be those appertaining to the post in question i.e. there is no protection of grades etc. If no other suitable positions are available, the employment may be terminated. 10. Unsatisfactory Performance - Extension of Probationary Period 10.1 Extensions to the probationary period will only be granted in circumstances whereby the post holder is unable to demonstrate their ability to perform to an acceptable standard within their role within the specified probationary period. These may be for reasons such as an additional training requirement or sickness absence. Following liaison with the Human Resources Department, line managers may request an extension to the probationary period. An extension will normally be for a maximum period of 3 months or in the cases of ill health, normally by the length of time lost to sickness absence Notification must be forwarded to the Human Resources Department as soon as this option is considered appropriate and reported in the post holder s review The individual will then continue to receive reviews at agreed periods to monitor their progress At the completion of the agreed extension, the final report will be completed with the recommendation to either confirm the appointment or terminate the individual s employment with Wiltshire Constabulary. 11. Unsatisfactory Performance Dismissal 11.1 Where the line manager considers that there has been apparent misconduct, unsatisfactory work performance, poor attendance or unsatisfactory progress despite attempts to resolve these problems with the staff member in the form of action plans etc., the Human Resources Department will need to be consulted to determine whether the circumstances warrant a recommendation for dismissal If dismissal is a recommendation, a formal meeting should be arranged before the end of the probationary period. The probationer should be informed in writing by the line manager at least 2 working days in advance of the formal meeting and that a possible outcome is dismissal from Wiltshire Constabulary s employment. The probationer will be
5 advised of the right to be accompanied by a friend, colleague or trade union representative At the formal meeting, the line manager will explain the severity of the issues of concern and should clarify that the problems have been identified and discussed with the probationer. The line manager will also provide any supporting information showing that the probationer has been given the opportunity to improve and support has been provided The staff member will also have the opportunity to explain and respond before a final decision is made If the decision is dismissal the member of staff will be notified in writing that their employment is terminated by due notice, within the probationary period. The reasons for the termination will be included. The staff member will be notified that they will have the right of appeal under Section 13 below Probationers may be dismissed at any stage during their probationary period for misconduct or gross misconduct. 12. Dismissal Right of Appeal 12.1 A staff member on probation will have the right to appeal against the decision to dismiss him or her from Wiltshire Constabulary s employment. The member of staff wishing to appeal against dismissal should submit in writing notice of appeal to the Head of Human Resources within five working days of receipt of the written notice of termination. The notice should include full reasons for the appeal The Human Resources Department will arrange the appeal hearing ensuring that a minimum of 2 working days notice of the date, time and location of the appeal hearing is given to the member of staff At the appeal hearing, the appeal panel will consider the evidence and will make a decision based on the following reasons: Whether the disciplinary action was fair and reasonable in light of the information known to management at the time of the original hearing Whether the prescribed procedures were correctly and fairly implemented The Chair of the Appeal Hearing can make the following decision: To dismiss the appeal and endorse the disciplinary action taken at the original hearing To uphold the appeal and re-instate the employee There is no further right of appeal. The Chair s decision is final. The member of staff will be informed of the Chair s decision at the end of the actual appeal hearing and confirmed in writing to the member of staff within 5 working days of the Chair s decision being given.
6 12.6 If a member of staff who has been dismissed is reinstated on appeal, the reinstatement will take effect from the date of the original dismissal and no loss of earnings shall be incurred. 13. Further Guidance 13.1 For further information and guidance on this procedure, please contact the HR Helpdesk in the first instance.